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Feastday: October 8Died: 4th centuryEgyptian penitent According to legend, Thais was a wealthy woman raised in Alexandria, Egypt, as a Christian. She decided to become a courtesan. Repenting of her lifestyle through the influence of St. Paphnutius, she gave up her money and entered a convent where she was walled up for three years to perform extreme penance for her dissolute habits. Finally, at the urging of St. Anthony, she was released from her spiritual incarceration and permitted to join the other women of the convent, dying a mere fifteen days after her release.
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Anatole France, pseudonym for Jacques Anatole Thibault (1844-1924), was the son of a Paris book dealer. He received a thorough classical education at the Collège Stanislas, a boys' school in Paris, and for a while he studied at the École des Chartes. For about twenty years he held diverse positions, but he always had enough time for his own writings, especially during his period as assistant librarian at the Senate from 1876 to 1890. His literary output is vast, and though he is chiefly known as a novelist and storyteller, there is hardly a literary genre that he did not touch upon at one time or another. France is a writer in the mainstream of French classicism. His style, modelled on Voltaire and Fénélon, as well as his urbane scepticism and enlightened hedonism, continue the tradition of the French eighteenth century. This outlook on life, which appears in all his works, is explicitly expressed in collection of aphorisms, Le Jardin d'Épicure (1895) [The Garden of Epicurus].
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